Running Windows 8 on local virtual machine

by Dmitry Kirsanov 21. September 2011 11:06

Just to repeat what I’ve said in my Twitter recently – now you have the ability to run Windows 8 Developer Preview on your VMWare Workstation. One week ago VMWare released Workstation 8.0, which doesn’t crash and indeed works quite well with Windows 8. Microsoft Virtual PC, as well as earlier versions of VMWare, still crashes.

After installation, you may notice that Start menu is changed by what is called Metro. If you prefer the “old” style Windows 7 menu, you can switch to that by switching one setting in Registry Editor.

In case you are using mouse, rightclick the taskbar, choose Task Manager, go to File and choose New Task. Now type regedit and click OK.

In Registry Editor, navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer
There will be setting named RPEnabled. Doubleclick it and change it’s value from 1 to 0.

Now enjoy your start menu.

Sneak Peek into Windows 8 GUI

by Dmitry Kirsanov 14. September 2011 17:29

Just wanted to show the most interesting part for system administrators about changes in most frequently used functionality. Task Manager and file copy / delete operations. As you may see, Task Manager became much more functional and file operations more ordered.

Although the ribbon in Explorer is not shown, it is here and definitely adds to user experience, but can be removed… When it doesn’t :)

Windows 8 GUI sneak peek, switch to Full Screen for better view.

Windows 8 Developer Preview revealed

by Dmitry Kirsanov 14. September 2011 15:00

This night MIcrosoft opened the prototype of their brand new OS and this build was named “Developer Preview”. Aimed mainly at software developers, it has a copy of not yet released Visual Studio 11, using which you can create software for that same Windows 8.

The only downside of this release is that you couldn’t install it on either VMWare workstation or Windows Virtual PC – it could only be installed on either physical or Hyper-V machine. I installed it on both.

First fascinating things about new OS is drastic change in user experience. I don’t even mean the new Metro and effects, but also much reworked file copying routine and Task Manager. The latter became as useful as it never been.

Although scheduled release date is not yet revealed, and most likely will be somewhere in Autumn of 2012, chances are you can grab a copy of ISOs at MSDN.

File Replacement Utility

by Dmitry Kirsanov 24. August 2011 22:48

Ok, here is another command line tool. This time - for developers who create software made of many components.

Imagine, you have a product which consists of main executable file and multiple dll files. And different people are working on these. And you are deploying it all on multiple machines and never know where it could be hiding. Maybe in some build directories, maybe somewhere else.

So this utility will find all instances of that file and replace with the newest one. Moreover, you can even select the older file, but all files will be replaced by the newest found. Well, there are parameters, of course.

As the searching for files is time consuming, the end result of this utility could be a batch file (.bat) which contains commands to repeat operation. It will take the same source file and put it to the same destinations as during the first run. That way, continuous replacing won't be a problem or take more than a couple of seconds.

So, here it is. Requires .net framework 3.5.

filereplace.rar (5,32 kb)



UPDATE 03/MAY/2016: Updated application to version 1.2.1 - fixed bug when file couldn't be found using the /d switch

7-Zip Converter

by Dmitry Kirsanov 23. August 2011 23:05

7zip

7-Zip is the most effective file archive format, with which far exceeds ZIP and even RAR in terms of compression level. When I realized that a few years ago, and when all tests proved I could store more files without the need of buying new and expensive hard drive, that was kind of relief, as I have a huge repository of files. A few terabytes.

You would ask why do I need so much storage, but the fact is – among other trades I am also a trainer, and I need to store my training materials somewhere. And these are mainly not the media files, which are generally well compressed and couldn’t be squeezed further, but documents and images of hard drives and DVDs. Anyway – something that could be compressed.

The problem was – all these thousands of files were already compressed by ZIP. The least effective but also the most compatible file format. I own a license for WinRAR, so opening any sort of archive isn’t a problem for me, but I didn’t want to either keep old files in ZIP form when I could compress them up to 10 times better, nor convert ZIP files to 7-ZIP manually. No, I needed to convert ZIP files to 7-ZIP automatically.

WinRAR, is quite useful and user-friendly (even though it has one of the worst customer support in software industry), it's compression ratio is not the best, comparing it to less visually attractive free 7-Zip. However, since my precious archives consuming terabytes of data, and hard drives are still quite expensive, especially when you are planning for some redundancy, space becomes more important than graphical user interface of archiver's shell.

However, one little freeware thing that comes with WinRAR is called “RAR converter”, or “rarcvt”. It comes in form of command line utility and is able, using WinRAR, decompress other archives, be it ZIP, CAB, ARJ or even ISO and RPM into RAR. I wanted that functionality for 7-ZIP, but it was nowhere to be found.

So I had to create it myself. I took Visual Studio and in a few hours made what is called now a 7-ZIP converter. This command line utility was tested on thousands of nested archives and proved to improve the efficiency of data storage from at least 1 and up to 99%. Sometimes there were situations when I couldn’t believe my eyes how it was able to repack the ZIP file to 7-ZIP for the end file to be 100 times smaller than ZIP!

I believe that this utility is essential for file server system administrators, as well as for home servers or even personal notebooks, where storage space is quite limited. It does not require installation, but you should have .NET framework 3.5 installed (you already have it in Windows Vista and Windows 7) and, of course, 7-zip. Config file can be edited in Notepad, it has just 3 parameters - the path to 7-zip, path to temporary directory and extensions of archives that should be converted.

Utility finds files by file mask, may convert nested archives (that is - when you have one archive inside of another), can delete the original file after conversion and may set the time stamp of original file to the resulting 7-zip archive.

Well, here it is!

7-Zip Converter Screenshot

7ZipConverter.7z (6,27 kb)


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